List of deserters from GWF in Melbourne 1908. Know how whoever got this list got it?


Attached is the list of 154 deserters in Melbourne from the Great white Fleet in 1908.

But there is no Blake here.

Best Regards,

Sorry to bother you again Mac, but you wouldnt happen to know how whoever got this list got it would you?  I am trying to chase down the same thing from Sydney, Albany and Auckland.

Any thoughts you may have would be greatly appreciated.



Its no bother.

A Melbourne correspondent of mine Rebecca Spalding went off to the Public Record Office at the Victoria Archives located at North Melboune.

Seeking material about the GWF, she was confronted with a heap of boxes containing Victorian Police Records about the US ship's visit to Melbourne in 1908. They were not sorted, and were totally uncatalogued, by painstakingly going through each box, a page at a time, Rebecca found the 154 names which the US Consul of the day had sent to the Victorian Police Chief Commissioner.

As the US Navy had put either 10 or 20 Pounds ( dependent on the importance of the individual sailor ) on the head of each deserter, to be paid for turning them in to their ship, a few who were ending their stint in the USN did not have a price placed upon them.

The problem was the Fleet sailed, leaving only the Kansas to collect both Fleet mail, and any males found, so it became impossible to actually return a deserter to his ship and collect the bounty. I believe the Victorian police soon became fed up with the whole problem of the deserters, and did nothing.

The present US Consul had no record of this group, nor did US Navy Records in the States, or the National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour in Sydney.

Rebecca also turned up the names of two US Sailors, Arthur James Decker, probably after too much to drink, he went to sleep on the railway line, and was run over by the shunting engine about to couple up to its Williamstown train, he died the next day, 
and Michael Michaelson, running for his train to go back to his ship, he slipped, fell under the train to die from his accident.  Both accidents on the same day, she then visited the Melbourne Cemetery where both are buried. Sheer persistence was required to get the final result. 

Take care over there in Moscow.

Best regards,

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